Juxtaposing Lyric and Sound: A Review of Red Yeti

In the bright green basement of drummer Nick Blosil’s home, all six members of Red Yeti lightly pluck, plunk, or tap their respective instruments as they take a short break from practice to answer a few questions. Red Yeti is an indie/folk rock band based in Provo, Utah. Red Yeti blends unique sounds, gleaning inspiration from bands as diverse as the Shins, Ratatat, and U2. This interesting, experimental combination of influences brings a new flavor to the indie scene.Their music sounds like the kind you can listen to with the windows down on a long road trip—but at the same time, their lyrics carry a certain heaviness that is not necessarily apparent in the bright instrumentation. Their songs reflect an exploration of the dual-natured emotions inclusive in the human experience, and the result is layered combinations of hope and despair, joy and regret. Lead singer Kimball Barker explains this dichotomy: “Although the music is upbeat, it definitely has a very dark undertone. I hope people feel the good music, and then look a little deeper.” Their sound transitions from relaxed and feel-good to nostalgic and haunting, anchored by thoughtful lyrics.

One of the ways Red Yeti achieves this moving effect is through the versatility of its musicians. Most of the musicians not only play their respective instruments, but also sing and do solo numbers during their set. They often have guest performers on the xylophone, trumpet, violin, etc. Recent addition Kate Berry, who sings and plays guitar, adds more gravity to their sound and more spunk to their performance. The male-female vocal dynamics shape the tone of their songs, sometimes laughing and having a good time together on stage, other times employing dissonance to provide a thought-provoking experience for their audience. Andrew Livingston often substitutes his bass for banjo during shows, adding a healthy dose of folk rock sound. This eclectic blend of musicians creates an atmosphere that fosters a unique kind of sound, something that Red Yeti definitely utilizes when they work together.

When asked about their preferred method of music writing, keyboardist Coleman Edwards explained their innovative process by discussing their song “California” that they wrote over the summer: “We all came up with a little part and it turned into a song. We wrote down words and started singing with it, and then we performed it. That’s how I like to write music.” This laid-back approach to song writing mirrors itself in their unstructured practice, where everyone has a voice and they share ideas openly. The result is full, rich songs that keep their audience thinking long after a performance. Guitarist Isaac Lomeli hopes that they can “better people through what [they] create.” He says, “music is definitely a way to help people be inspired and become more than what they are at the moment, and we want to become a part of that good movement for others.” He was met with a resounding amen from the rest of Red Yeti. The band’s motive to move and change others is the driving force behind why they make and share their music. That goal paired with the versatility of the musicians and the layered emotional effect of their songs sets them apart from other local indie/folk rock bands and brings new life to the Provo music scene.

With a new EP out, Red Yeti is becoming a major name in local music. They have played for a variety of causes and at a variety of venues, including HELP International events, at the Depot in Salt Lake City, and at local Provo venues such as Guru’s Cafe. Recently the band was nominated as one of the top five bands to compete for the RAWards, the largest indie awards show in the world. They will play in Salt Lake on November 15th against four other bands for the chance to compete at the national level in Hollywood. They would like to thank all their fans who voted to get them this far.
Kylee Buchanan

Photo Credit: Charles Uibel